Ottawa— Today the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the cases of R. v. Labaye and R. v. Kouri that the provision of the Criminal Code prohibiting the operation of a “common bawdy-house” was not violated by what went on at two sex clubs in Montreal, because the sexual activities that took place there were not “acts of indecency.” It grounded that decision on the finding that the activities took place out of the public view, that there was no harm to society, and that there was no harm to individuals participating in these activities.
The Court moved away from a morality based approach to one grounded in protecting the public from harm. It stated “over time, courts increasingly came to recognize that morals and taste were subjective, arbitrary and unworkable in the criminal context, and that a diverse society could function only with a generous measure of tolerance for minority mores and practices.” (Kouri, at paragraph 14)
“This case is about whether the morality of some should be imposed on others,” said Laurie Arron, Egale’s Director of Advocacy. “Canadians don’t want people thrown in jail because of what they do behind closed doors, when there is no harm to the public.”
“Some people are calling on the government to change the law so that they can impose their morality on others,” continued Mr. Arron. “We hope politicians don’t take the bait on this. The morality of some should not be imposed on others.”
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified people have historically been persecuted because of our sexual activities,” said Gilles Marchildon, Executive Director of Egale. “We hail this as a victory for freedom, justice and respect for individual choices and values.”
Egale Canada advances equality and justice for LGBT people, and their families, across Canada. Founded in 1986, Egale’s work includes political action, legal interventions and public education and awareness.
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For more info:
Laurie Arron, Egale Canada, 416-839-7178 (c)
Gilles Marchildon, Egale Canada, 613 230-1043 (o), 613 864-1133 (c)
The full judgments are available at:
R. v. Labaye: www.lexum.umontreal.ca/csc-scc/en/rec/html/2005scc080.wpd.html
R. v. Kouri: www.lexum.umontreal.ca/csc-scc/en/rec/html/2005scc081.wpd.html
Egale Canada ©2007